Vail Valley Partnership CEO: A better work environment means a better customer experience (column) |

Vail Valley Partnership CEO: A better work environment means a better customer experience (column)

Chris Romer
Vail Valley Partnership

What makes a great work environment? Building a work environment that empowers staff to make decisions, take care of customers and provide great service should be at the top of the list for every business owner and manager regardless of industry sector.

Customer service, after all, is a key component of the guest experience — and a positive customer experience is the key to increased brand loyalty.

Consider the following: We’ve likely all been in work environments like this at some point in our career: “Chris, you need to closely monitor staff like the rest of managers do.” Of course I couldn’t submit to this, so I didn’t last long there. My team was delivering excellent results but the outside (leader) focus was on control, not results.

Not surprisingly, this same company would hire external consultants to boost falling engagement levels within the team (that same team that was delivering excellent results). It’s unfortunate that in many organizations, managers think to be effective they need to micromanage their team in order to get the best results and provide the highest levels of service.

Waste of Time

On the contrary, a manager’s job is to motivate and provide guidance and support. The job of a manager or leader is not to monitor an employee’s every movement. Micromanagement is a waste of everybody’s time. It suffocates, demoralizes and kills creativity. Select the right people, provide the right training and tools, and give them room to get on with the job.

Liking the people you work sure does help. Working with people who are supportive and understanding fosters personal connections and professional growth. We spend so much time with our co-workers, it’s important to like and respect them and their work.

From ‘me’ to ‘we’

So how can we, as leaders, help set a confident and clear tone for the future? How can we embody empowerment and training so that our team members can draft off it? How do we build a better work environment in order to create a better customer experience?

As business owners and managers, it starts with moving from “me” to “we.” As outlined by economist and futurist Rebecca Ryan, organizations and leaders need to shift from me (“only I can do this”) to we (“who else could learn from this?”).

As a business leader, what if you shift your thinking from worrying about budgets and revenue forecasts to thinking less about revenue and more about greater creatively and change? What if you shift your thinking from needing to be heard to needing to listen and understand how your messages come across to others?

How do you embrace this shift and embrace a work environment that focuses on the customer experience and empowering employees? After all, customer service is a point of distinction and what sets competitive businesses apart and businesses need tools and resources.

With this in mind, the Platinum Service Program is one of Vail Valley Partnership’s signature programs and focuses solely on creating and rewarding superior customer service experiences. To do this, Platinum Service Program uses a series of mystery shops designed to help businesses provide higher levels of customer service through a comprehensive platform. The Vail Valley Partnership is pleased to partner with Customer Impact, one of the largest firms in the mystery shop industry.

The program will help businesses establish customer service expectations, set goals and reward outstanding service by providing mystery shopper evaluations to participating businesses. This approach just might help create a better work environment and lead to a better customer experience.

Chris Romer is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at

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